Free Trade, Free Markets: Rating the Congress

Welcome to "Free Trade, Free Markets: Rating the Congress." This interactive feature allows users to examine how Congress and its individual members have voted over the years on bills and amendments affecting the freedom of Americans to trade and invest in the global economy. The web site provides explanations and analysis of all major trade votes since 1999. The search tool enables users to see the voting records of senators and representatives throughout their careers or just for a single term. Each search produces a graphic that positions the overall voting record on a two-dimensional matrix measuring opposition to trade barriers along the horizontal axis and opposition to trade subsidies along the vertical access. A representative or senator who regularly opposes barriers and subsidies is considered a "Free Trader"; one who opposes barriers, but supports subsidies is an "Internationalist"; one who opposes subsidies but supports barriers is an "Isolationist"; and, one who supports barriers and subsidies is an "Interventionist." The site also provides access to Cato reports on the voting profiles of Congress as whole during recent terms.

If you have any suggestions on how the site could be made more useful or have questions about the methodology, please contact us.

This work by Cato Institute is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The statesman, who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals, would not only load himself with a most unnecessary attention, but assume an authority which could safely be trusted, not only to no single person, but to no council or senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it.19

So when deciding U.S. policy toward the global economy, members of Congress do not need to choose between the anti-trade, antisubsidy isolationism of Pat Buchanan and the pro-trade, pro- subsidy internationalism of the Clinton administration. They can choose to vote for a coherent program to liberalize trade and eliminate subsidies—in sum, to let Americans enjoy the freedom and prosperity of a seamless free market undistorted by government intervention.

Trade Policy Analysis No. 6 (PDF)